Another big monthly cost for many people is lunch. This cost is often unnoticed as many only see it as a $12 to $18 dollar cost per day, based on the average restaurant or fast-food cost with tax. When you multiply this by an average of 22 working days per month, you get a range of $264 to $396 and if you are married or living with someone and you both have this habit, you are now at $528 to $792.
Wow! Almost $800 a month in after tax dollars, even at the low rate, most people would need to earn over $1,000 a month gross just to cover this one bad habit.
So, I am going to assume that most of us travel in pairs or would like to, so we will do the remainder of these calculations as if you had someone important in your life. First off, to generate some motivation, lets look at 5 great things you could buy with that $800 a month!
1. A his and hers 2012 Nissan Versa with no money down and financed for 48 months equals a monthly total cost of less than $640. Thats for 2, again, yes, that's 2! brand new high mileage cars and with $160 dollars left to buy gas for these amazing cars. We recently bought one for our daughter and she loves it. 2 cars!!
2. How about a nice new apartment in Kelowna. That $800 a month will service a $150,000 mortgage.
3. A nice, shiny, new GIC. Go to the bank, and ask for a loan. It does not matter if you have good credit, bad credit or even lousy credit. Tell them you want a $10,000 loan that you will pay off in one year. You want the loan for a GIC which they will hold as collateral, so no risk to them, and you will be building your credit while putting away a nice nest egg.
4. An absolutely amazing vacation to almost anywhere in the world for the 2 of you for 10 days, if you are just plain hell bent on spending that money.
5. Invest that money and get that money working for you, that is another column though...
Or, you could continue to eat that unhealthy, fat conducive, sodium-enriched food, and continue your lazy, lazy bad habit! And if that is your choice, I know the guy that wrote that diet and you will likely not only be poor, but look like it as well. So if that is your choice, no need to keep reading, you best hurry down to the golden arches to get your next fix.
For those that are still reading, I will offer you some choices or alternatives, because you still have to eat and eat you will.
The best solution is to make healthy dinners and make enough to have left overs for both of you. Go to Costco and buy the glass tupperware style containers for around $20, great for packing lunches.
And generally speaking your lunch is basically free now as it consists of just a bit more of your dinner. Cut up lots of raw vegetables and fruit and store in the fridge in your new containers and take some out for lunch each day.
Other alternatives for you, if making dinner with enough leftovers is too challenging:
1. Go to Superstore, Walmart, Costco, or Save-on and look for specials on the frozen meals. Many times you can buy them for around $1 dollar. They are a great backup plan as well, so put like 10 in the freezer at work.
2. Costco everyday for lunch, hotdog and a soda for $1.50, this is for those that cannot hold a knife to cut up vegetables or make it to the frozen food isle.
3. Go to BC Fruit Growers and buy sacks of apples, pears and other fruits. Learn to think of these as your candy. Cut up carrots, celery, and fruit in bulk and store it in containers in the fridge, just take what you need each day. You would be surprised how much healthier you will be in addition to saving money. Buy a large jar of peanut butter at Costco (around $6 for the huge jar) tons of protein and filling as well. Buy some nice rye bread at Costco while you are there (comes in 2 packs), nice Canadian Rye, one for you and one for your other half. Take the bread and jar of peanut butter to work... Tada! Lots of quick and easy lunches. The best part is keeping the peanut butter at your desk and eating a spoonful when you get hunger pains. It is so nice once you get used to it. Really. Try it.
4. Arrange for a lunch swap with co-workers, have them bring you leftovers one day and you return the favour the next day. Fun and cheap.
5. If you absolutely must go out, split an entree with a friend and drink water when you are out. Everything you eat will be considered diet food! Half the calories are gone as you are splitting it.
The best from a dollar perspective and for your health is planned leftovers from a good healthy dinner along with raw fruit and vegetables.
The rest of this article is just a rant of my latest experience at one of the more trendy restaurants, you know the one where the waitresses are all in skirts that are so short and their tops are XXXXS lycra with little to no fabric on the front. From my last experience, I have the following questions…
Why do the young girls all have to wear the same outfits that leave little to the imagination, while the male manager is cruising/shoomzing the clientele in a suit? He has on shirt, jacket, and full length pants. Should he not be forced or coerced to wear the same tight, revealing attire that all the girls “choose” to wear every day? Maybe if he were forced to dress in the same way as the female staff, he would realize that it is not so fun being the one gawked at.
Not to mention when you receive your bill, it only has 3 choices when it comes to tipping, 15%, 18% or 20%. Where were the options for no tip or less for those who choose to exercise their right? I feel bad for these girls, and even worse for myself that I am being bullied into tipping 20% from what would have been a perfectly reasonable 15%, in an effort not to look cheap or make the waitress feel undervalued.
I will exercise my right now though, and in doing so, I will not return there!
Until next time, be frugal. It's your money, spend it wisely.